Monday, February 16, 2009

SEE or PhariSEE

I tend to be good about seeing a situation and sizing it up appropriately. I can read body language and gestures, tone and inflection, attitudes and appearances. Some would call that being astute.

Police officers are trained to check out situations and size them up appropriately as well. By reading body language, gestures, tones, attitudes and appearances, they try to determine what illegal activity may be going on. That is called profiling.

But at what point does sizing up, or inference, become judgment? When do we go from seeing to Phariseeing. That is, being like a Pharisee in the Bible. Pharisees were the religious leaders in Jesus' day. They were considered to be self-righteous rule-followers. They were more concerned with following the letter of the law, than the spirit of the law.

Wikipedia states "An important binary in the New Testament is the opposition between law and love. Accordingly, the New Testament presents the Pharisees as obsessed with man-made rules (especially concerning purity) whereas Jesus is more concerned with God’s love; the Pharisees scorn sinners whereas Jesus seeks them out.

I have to admit, sometimes my "seeing" becomes "phariseeing." Sometimes it's more important to me to be on time, than to stop and lend a helping hand. Sometimes I "size someone up" and think we could never be friends, without getting to know them first. (Sue J & I were on a committee together, and we were seemingly opposites in many ways. We dismissed each other as possible friends, YET GOD put us together again, and now we are the closest of friends. You can read Sue's version of this story here.)

But what other friendships have I missed out on because of my "Phariseeing." What witnessing opportunities have I lost by judging instead of ministering? It's important to be able to see the truth. To do that I need to make sure I'm measuring what I see through God's eyes, not mine. Then I may see things justly and fairly. Then my view will not be phariseeing, but fairly seeing.

Matthew 7:5 -- You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.

Matthew 13:14-16 -- In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: 'You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. For this people's heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.' But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear.

Chatty Kelly


Joy in The Truth said...

Hi, Kelly!

Oh, you are right...I don't want to miss God-ordained relationships because I have not seen others with His eyes. Our "sizing up" often does not fit God's true measure of a child of His.

Dena said...

I am guilty of this. We went to see my daughter at her college recently and a group of men dressed in baggy clothes with lots of chains hanging around their necks came by. I was intimidated and nervous, as to me they gave the appearance of being in a gang. My daughter is very petite and I worried for her safety. She ran up to one and gave him a hug and said hi to them all. Turns out that yes, they grow up as inner city kids, but as we found out, they were very nice young men.

Dorothy Champagne said...

I try to teach my kids how important it is to dress nicely - people take you more seriously and treat you differently when you look nice - it's the reality of society. On the flip side of that, I tell them it is not right for us, though, to do that to others - you have to look beyond how they're dressed. Such a hard lesson for kids to learn and grasp.

Sue J. said...

Jesus definitely gives the Pharisees a hard time. It makes me wonder what would have happened if Jesus hadn't come at the time He did. That "plank" verse is pretty convincing, and the size of the plank at the time must have been astronomical!

He came so we could understand the relationship that God had set up from the beginning. How twisted that amazing relationship had become! (Sad that God is still profiled incorrectly, too.)

As for you and me, "seemingly opposites" isn't untrue. We still are opposites in a lot of ways. But you and I both see what Jesus was talking about. So that fact that you love pink and I love brown (and why don't you?--LOL!), and other opposites, only adds to the foundation that we love each other because He loved us first. (And Praise God for that!)

Very nice post today!

God's girl said...

We had a speaker at church yesterday and he touched on this a little, among many other wonderful things.

Somewhere inside of us there is a "striving" to be a "good" Christian, so we place standards on ourselves as to what that should look like.

Unfortunately, we define those same standards to everyone else. Yet, we became the "best" Christian we can be in God's eyes the moment we accepted Christ as our Savior.

We definitely have a spirit of religion that needs to be broken. Wonderful post.

Mary Moss said...

Oh, Kelly! You know I'm guilty of this as well:-)

My ADHD Me said...

You and I have talked about this before. Being on time is important and helping others is important. A person just needs to try not to be consumed by either.

By the way, if we weren't sisters, would you Pharisee me or see me? And even if you DID see me, would you look the other way? Would I?

Think about it. We are SO much alike in our thinking but the similarities completely stop there. I wonder if we would have even taken the time to find out that we did think alike.

On the other hand, if we weren't sisters, would we think alike?

On the other hand, would we act and dress alike had we been born by different parents?

On the other hand, perhaps we would live in different continents.

On the other hand, we would have to be an octopus to have so many hands.

On the other hand, do they even have hands?

Hhhmmm, a lot to ponder today!

Runner Mom said...

Oohh!!This is good! I'll try to remember this when deveolping new relationships! Or simply seeing people for the first time. Great scripture!


Greg C said...

I knew you were going to post this today. I am frequently in the Pharisee mode myself. Just last Friday I proved myself wrong yet again. I speak to almost everyone at the gym but there was one person that I kept my distance from. I have to tell you that I already sized her up and knew that she was probibly gay and masculine because she had short hair, was very muscular and had a tattoo. Well Friday, we were the only two people in the gym at 430 in the morning(imagine that) and so I said hello to her. She immediatly smiled and began talking. She has a lovely voice and really sounds like a nice person. I would have missed out had I not said hello. Great post Kelly.

Beverlydru said...

Seeing vs. Phari-seeing. That's a definition that will stick in my mind and heart.

Another thought-provoking message. Thank you.

Julie Gillies said...

I've done the same thing, Kelly,...BUT I'm LEARNING not to allow first impressions to close the door on potential friendships. Besides, I like allowing God to surprise me. LOL

Good post, girl!

Marla said...

I think we are all some what guilty of this. I tend to sometimes judge to quickly and then I feel guilty about it. I always think, was God testing me? It's hard to be more like Christ!

2nd Cup of Coffee said...

I learned about judging once by saying about someone's sin, "I would NEVER do that. NEVER," but within weeks, the temptation was almost unbearable. I could've seen the sin without propping myself up. But no, I just had to say that.

Edie said...

I know I'm guilty of this. I was just thinking about this today and praying that God would help me to see others more through His eyes than my own.

I also tend to be a rule follower and have to watch myself to keep the proper balance even in my own spiritual walk, that I'm looking at the spirit of the law and not the letter.

Edie said...

Wahahaha!! Just read my "other sister's" comments. Still cracking up.

B His Girl said...

To see with His eyes challenges all of us. Thanks. b

Melanie Dorsey said...

Great title and post, Kelly.

Kay Martin said...

Wordsmith Queen!!! Love this title. Yes, judging comes with intelligence and justice. I find as God shows me "me" I am losing my pharisee!

Pinkshoelady said...

This has happened to me so many times from both being judged and me judging others.

If our first judgment of each other had stuck, my husband and I would never have gotten together!

Thanks for this post! You always challenge and inspire me!

Edie said...

How do you get away with only cooking one night a week!??

The Patterson 5 said...

Josh's cake has star wars figures on it. They are dueling in a light saber battle. Mr P had to pick them out b/c I did not have a clue (I'd proabably have the guys on the same team dueling)

Carol said...

Great post! GREAT post. This is so true. I loved how you brought it in. I know I'm guilty of this and I try SO hard not to be. Thank you for this incredible reminder.